Busura Primary School

During our last 2 visits to The Gambia we have visited Busura Primary School. Busura is the next village to Penyem and the school is the one that most Penyem children progress to for their middle year's education. They then return to Penyem Upper Basic School on the outskirts of the village. During our visits we met with the Headmaster Mr Darbo. He asked that we help him set up links with a school in the UK. We also observed the serious damage to part of the school roof. The damaged meant that the school had to be used in two 'shifts' - morning and afternoon. The Penyem children attended in the afternoon and so had to walk the 5km to Busura in the searing midday sun.

During the second half of 2010 we have been able to secure links with two schools in Corby for Mr Darbo to pursue. These are St Brendan's RC Primary School and Danesholme Junior School. St Brendan's have already collected significant amounts of pens, pencils etc for the school. Furthermore, following a fund raising event they have donated over £320 for school projects.

Following the visit of The Kingswood School students in 2010, it was decided to set about raising funds to repair the school roof. In late December, having provided the £4500 funds from some great fundraising, we have heard that the roof has been replaced and the building is well
on the way to completion. Hopefully, we will reopen it when we visit in February 2011.

Although this is a very worthy project, NTF has made it clear to all concerned that they are only able to look after the needs of Penyem Village. The Busura School project was funded from separate funds from NTF. However, NTF did contribute £500 towards the repairs and hours of time co-ordinating the work in association with Daniel Nyang, our new Gambian representative, and Chief Kolley. Any further work at Busura School will have to be funded by Mr Darbo and his staff.

Work in progress at Penyem Health Centre.

We have just received a report from Chief Kolley about the progress in the Penyem Health Centre. He tells us that building work has been delayed due to heavy rains but the ceiling is now complete, the floor of the entire centre has been tiled and a water tank storage area has nearly been completed.

We are delighted to announce that we have received sufficient donations to enable us to give the builders the go ahead for a complete solar power installation in the refurbished centre.Thanks everyone!

Kingswood School launch Penyem Health Centre Project.

On Tuesday 12 October 2010, The Kingswood School officially launched their Penyem Health Centre Appeal. Penyem is a small village in The Gambia. The Kingswood School has been working closely with Northampton Trustee Fund, a local charity on a number of projects, including repairing a school roof and setting up a Football Academy.

In February 2011, ten Year 13 students will be visiting The Gambia to help the projects develop in Penyem and to start the renovations of the village Health Centre. The Centre needs a ceiling installing, the floor tiled, a water supply connected and a solar electricity system. The Kingswood Students will be fundraising in order that these projects can be completed.

Andy Butler, School Sport Co-Ordinator and representative of the charity said:

'This is a fantastic opportunity for the Kingswood Students to visit a third world country and to make a huge difference to the villagers of Penyem. The students will also each be sponsoring a village child to attend school and will get the chance to meet their child and their families when they visit. It is a trip of a lifetime!'

For more details of the charities work please call Andy Butler on 07812111187.

Kingswood School visit February 2011

A group of Year 13 students from The Kingswood School will be visiting the Gambia and therefore, Penyem in February 2011. As you will see from previous posts in this blog this is the second year running now that a group has gone to The Gambia. This group has taken on the responsibility of fundraising to renovate the Village Health Centre as decribed below. Work in the centre has already started. Watch this space to see how the students get on!

June visit 2010.

In June, Andy made a last minute visit to Penyem. This was not intended as a surprise visit, but a good package price came available towards the end of May. The main reason for the visit was twofold. One reason was for the delivery of funds for the the child school fees. We now have 75 children sponsored. It is fantastic that nearly all our sponsors have offered to continue. Thanks. The photo shows a group of some of the sponsored children. During the visit there was a graduation ceremony for four grade 9 students who were leaving the Upper school for Senior Secondary school.
The second reason for the visit was to discuss plans for the Health Centre. Since the employment of the Doctor in February, the Health Centre has been very busy. On this trip we were able to supply £300 worth of medicines bought locally, and to give 20kg of donated drugs, bandages and equipment. Thanks again for your donations.

The Kingswood School is visiting again in February 2011. It was agreed that the Kingswood students would fundraise to tile the floors of the health centre, install a ceiling, connect running water and a sink and hopefully install an electricity supply.

ThePenyem village doctor receiving donated medical supplies and a new banner!

The open roof inside the Health Centre. The Kingswood students who will visit in February 2011 will fundraise to supply a new ceiling.

The unofficial opening of Penyem Health Centre!

The Kingswood School Trip. February 2010.

Twelve Year 13 students from The Kingswood School, Corby and their Headteacher David Tristram accompanied Andrew and Anne Butler to The Gambia in February 2010. This was a joint school and charity venture. During their stay the group made a number of cultural visits including spending 3 days in Penyem.

The students were received in Penyem by the children and villagers with the usual fantastic welcome including drumming and dancing. One of the main reasons for the trip was to set up The Penyem Football Academy. This included the organisation of a football resource room and the instalation of a satellite TV system. This room would allow villagers and others to read football coaching books and to watch football matches on the two large TVs. After the successful installation the villagers told us that over 200 people had watched 4 football matches. They had paid 5 delasis each. These fees had more than covered the cost of the fuel for the brand new generator which was an additional purchase. It is hoped that if managed correctly the TV system would provide a regular income for the village. Previously, people used to walk to the nearest town, Brikama, to watch matches.
Each Kingswood student had sponsored a Penyem child's education for the year leading up to the trip. They met their child in the school and then went off to visit their families. This was a magical part of the week, which was difficult for the students, but they managed it brilliantly!
Later on that day, the Penyem Football Academy was launched with a mass coaching session on the village football pitch. This was chaos! It seemed that every child from the village was there.
The afternoon ended with a special challenge football match - The Kingswood School verses Penyem Under 14 team. This short match in very hot conditions finished in a 2-2 draw! The match was great fun for all, including the spectators. At the end there was an exchange of shirts - well we gave them ours, followed by an exhibition match by two other village teams. Eventually, the group of exhausted students loaded up the Land Rovers and headed back to our hotel, to complete probably the best day of their lives!

On the 3rd and final day in Penyem, we visited Busura Primary School where most of the Penyem children go to school after Penyem school. We were made so welcome. We visited every class and were sung to each time we entered the classroom! The children also put on a drama production for us at the end of the visit.

Indirectly, Busura is supported by NTF. All the Penyem children are equipped with pens, pencils etc. from NTF donations. The school is desperately seeking a sponsor. It is our hope that we can introduce another UK school or schools
to twin with Busura Primary School. If you can help - please get in touch!

We completed our visits that day with a short tour of Penyem Upper Basic School, which is just outside Penyem. This is the next school after Primary School. Again they are desperate for educational materials and furniture.

And so, it was time to leave Penyem. We said our final farewells. During a short thankyou speech to the villagers David Tristram (Kingswood Headteacher) announced that The Kingswood School would be attempting to fund a large container of furniture, tools and materials to arrive in Penyem later this year. This will be known as The Red Chair Project. Anyone who would like to help with this project should call David on 01536 741857.

Andrew and Anne Butler also made the announcement that the annual £500 donation to the village would be available from April. Furthermore, the charity would guarantee the funding of the new village medical worker/nurse for a second year in 2011.

To finish we would like to express our special thanks to the following: Chief Kolley for his tireless efforts in ensuring this visit would be a success. Dan Nyang for his excellent organisation for us in The Gambia and his attention all week. Also thanks to Mustapha Camara and Andrew Gomez.
We would also like to thank Thomas Cook Airlines for allowing us the luxury of double baggage allowance, without which we could not have achieved such success!